All Public Masses Suspended
Today is a very difficult week for our Church. We’re facing some events that we haven’t dealt with as a Church in nearly a hundred years. As I’m sure you’re aware by now, all public masses in the diocese have been temporarily suspended. As I spoke to my parents this week, they told me that in their 80-ish years, they had never seen anything quite like this. I know this is a difficult time for all of us. Please continue to support and pray for each other in this difficult time.
For those of you with internet access, I just finished getting the technology working to be able to help you stay connected. We will be livestreaming mass from our Winter Chapel each day. My plan for right now is to keep our daily masses on their current schedule, 8am M/W/R/F and 6:30pm Tuesday. Saturday Mass will be streamed at 5pm, and Sunday Mass at 9am. All of our Mass intentions will be said, and although you won’t be able to attend the private masses, you should be able to view them via Facebook Live. I will leave instructions on our website. I know it’s not a perfect solution, but I want to try to do what I can.
Churches Open for Private Prayer
By the directive of the Bishop, the Church will be unlocked and open from around 8am-8pm every day except Mondays for private prayer. Even though we cannot gather in groups, it’s important for people to have the Church available for private prayer. The Votive Candles will continue to be available in the Church as per normal. We plan to mail the bulletins to all parishioners this weekend only, in future weekends, they will be available in the Church when you stop for a visit.
I would like to keep the hours as open as possible, but I also have to exercise due caution. I am installing some cameras and motion detectors in the Church for the time being for security purposes. I ask that everyone please stay out of the Choir area. I hope that there will be no issues, as I don’t want to be forced to only have the Church open the times when someone can actively be in the Church.
Extended Confession Times
During this difficult time, as we’re unable to gather in groups, I want to make sure we give good access to the sacrament of Confession. For this week, I’m going to be available for confessions in the Church Wednesday & Thursday at 9am, noon and 6pm, and on Saturday at 9am & noon in the Church. I’ll stay for about 30 minutes or as long as people are there. After a week or so, we’ll re-evaluate based on which times people seem to stop by.
FORMED, Online Classes, and Adult Faith Formation
Over the last few months, I’ve been working on a number of projects getting them ready for us here at Prince of Peace. Most of these I was planning on releasing slowly over the next year or so, but due to our recent situation, I’ve decided they’re ready enough to move forward with.
While everyone is cooped up in the house, if you have internet at home, I’d encourage you to visit http://www.formed.org. Through a grant by the Independent Catholic Foundation, we have a parish-wide subscription to FORMED. FORMED is a Catholic Media Platform. Think of it as a Catholic version of Netflix, Audible, and Kindle combined. The class on “Confession” that we just started was through that subscription. The site also provides lots of Catholic Movies, Documentaries, and a whole lot of Children’s programming as well. Please, if you have internet at home, check it out on your phone, tablet, Roku, or other device.
All you need to do to sign up is:
1. In any browser, go to www.formed.org
2. Click sign-up
3. Select “I belong to a Parish or Organization”
4. Type in our parish zip code (15714)
5. Enter your email address & you’re done.
Next week, after I’ve given everyone a chance to sign up and while we’re all stuck at home, I’ll be offering an online class for those who would like to participate. The class will be on “Prayer”. We’ll continue our live class on confessions once the crisis is over. I’ll be posting a schedule and instructions on joining on our parish website. I know that some of these things will not be available to those parishioners who do not have internet access, but given our present situation, I hope you will understand that I want to continue these things in a live format once we’re able to do that.
Finally, without public services for a few weeks, it has the potential to be financially devastating to our parish. While I don’t want finances to be our primary concern in this time, they are a concern. For the last few months, we’ve been working on a system to accept direct-deposit/online contributions. In light of this crisis, it’s time to make that system public. If you have internet access and would like to participate, instructions will be posted to our website. If you do not have online access or do not wish to participate, please feel free to either mail your envelopes to the Church, or drop them in the box laid out by the altar when you come to make your weekly visit in Church.
Please know that all of you are in my daily prayers through this difficult time. Remember, Jesus has walked this road with many before us, and he will walk it together with us.
God Bless You,
-Fr Matt Baum
Father Matthew Baum is the Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.